Select Committee on Health Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


CSP Survey — Members' comments on PFI

  The following are a selection of comments from respondents to our survey. They illustrate the feelings and reaction of CSP members to the PFI projects experienced so far.

    "Better for staff and patients due to better facilities—it's good to share with other disciplines."

    "Worse than before—I feel less committed."

    "Have had to put patients at ease because they think the services and the hospital are private, not NHS."—Technical Instructor Grade III."

    "Generally feel valued by being provided with a modern working environment with potential for increase in service provision."

    "Less of a team feeling."

    "As many facilities staff are now employed by contractors it feels less gelled as a staff unit."—CSP steward in orthopaedics.

    "Am more uncertain about scope for development of skills. More stress."—Senior II physiotherapist, Neurology.

    "Swings and roundabouts—some things are better, some worse. For patients using the mental health unit the treatment they receive is better from a physio point of view, but consideration for special diets, for example, is not catered for. For patients spending time on the wards this has been a huge issue. The staff that the PFI employ to serve meals and to clean are not always helpful or appropriate, and have had no training in dealing with people with mental health problems."—Physio Exercise Technician, Mental Health.

    "The original physio unit was custom built in 1987 and worked very well. The hospital has been refurbished and the physio unit converted to a ward. The refurbished current physio unit is part of the old house—less space, office not in a good position, telephones difficult to use. There was much consultation during the PFI process, but most if not all suggestions (from staff) ignored on the grounds of cost (eg moving doorways, ventilation etc). Any alterations require endless memos—neither the Trust nor the PFI people accept responsibility for payment to fund small changes (eg privacy curtain for main door)."—Senior I physio, Community based.

    "Patients and relatives are much more demanding in new unit—expectations are far greater although we only have the same number of staff."—Senior I physio, Community.

    "It (PFI) has just led to more red tape and `buck passing' without any action or communication of what's going to be done. Patients can't believe how it ever passed the design phase and, clearly, disabled patients weren't consulted and if they were it was ignored. I have been personally told by a PFI employed person that their main concern is to keep their shareholders happy!"—Senior I physio, Rehabilitation.

    "The PFI will doubtless lead to more generic rehab staff and an increase in the use of non-qualified staff."—Head of Service.

    "Physiotherapy has been increased to cover the increase in number of beds on ward and increase in outpatients."

    "No out-patient facilities, no staff room, no changing/shower facilities and importantly no staff car parking provision leading to off-site parking miles away."

    "Dissatisfied with enforced merger necessary for PFI initiative."—Senior II physiotherapist, Manchester.

    "I'm very unhappy—looking for alternative employment now."—Superintendent III.

    "I am anxious that the paediatric `ethos' of this hospital will be `engulfed' by our amalgamation with a larger trust and also that some paediatric services will be reduced/poorer quality, eg we may have to share A&E department."

    "Generally, patients seem pleased but due to lack of consultation there has been some major teething problems (ie signposting of services). In hindsight, government should have evaluated PFI initiatives further prior to rolling them out throughout the NHS because once the contracts are signed negotiations are difficult."

    "It makes no sense to me to pay a private company 10 or 20 times the price of a building to inherit an out-of-date facility in approximately 30 years time!!"

    "I no longer wish to work in acute unit as PFI doesn't appear to meet some of the needs of older people."—Senior I, elderly rehabilitation.

    "The working environment is very poor, in a building poorly maintained ... raises significant health and safety issues. PFI has not been fully thought through ... some services now housed in unsuitable accommodation, including physiotherapy."—Superintendent III, mental health.

    "Concern generally felt regarding the long-term impact of PFI within the NHS and the impact upon patient care/resource availability in the future. Also concern around freedom of decision making in the future."—anonymous respondent.

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